Trinidad and Tobago is expected to generate a new revenue stream that has dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting the 2020 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday.
Speaking following the official opening of the $11.3 million Bagatelle Community Centre in Diego Martin, one day after Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Shamfa Cudjoe said T&T had accepted the responsibility to host the entire six-team event from August 18-September 12, Rowley insisted the CPL will be part of the country’s “economic resurgence.”
Asked how much revenue the CPL will generate for the country, Rowley said, “There are numbers that economists pulled up. But it is a positive number in terms of profit. The CPL principles speak in terms of making losses...but keeping the tournament alive, and thirdly it will bring opportunities for those who are directly involved. But more so it is a restart of an engine.”
Rowley said all foreign players, managers and auxiliary staff will have to adhere to strict COVID-19 guidelines during the event and the quarantine requirements will be worked out by Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram and the Ministry of Health.
“My understanding is that all the teams will be housed at the Hilton (hotel) and the Hilton would be used for nothing else during that period but to facilitate the teams and their associates.”
Rowley said CPL will pay for the quarantine of the 250-off officials and players.
“So that is one of the benefits, so the Hilton will get some of the business. The Hilton is State-owned. We have been paying the staff with no business,” he said, adding the players and their associates will be quarantined in small groups.
Before leaving their country of origin, Rowley said the players will be tested and must be COVID-19 free. Upon arriving on our shores, they will be retested.
“If they are negative still then they will be allowed to mix with the bigger groups...then they can go and play,” he said.
“One of the things we negotiated and the benefit we expect to get is because the entire tournament is here in Trinidad and Tobago, for that entire period we will be featured worldwide. It is probably to our best exposures.”
By hosting the CPL, Rowley said the country will be sending a signal that our health conditions are healthy and we are returning to some semblance of normalcy.
“It is an economic thing...it’s a promotional thing...it is an emotional thing,” he said.
No fans will be allowed into the venues to view the matches due to the COVId-19 restrictions but they can see all the action live on CNC3, which has the exclusive rights to the event locally. Six teams—defending champions Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, St Lucia Zouks and the Trinbago Knight Riders—will be vying for the title.
The PM said the West Indies squaring off with England this week in the first test match was also a good development, adding based on how successful this goes it would facilitate further matches being played around the world.
Told that Government had been criticised for opening the borders to the CPL teams while T&T citizens are being kept out, Rowley insisted that “the CPL players are not coming from places where they can’t get out...where the borders are closed.”
He said T&T’s borders continue to remain closed to keep the virus out, which is a priority.
“Secondly, we are bringing our people in from areas where there is infection raging slowly and carefully. And thirdly, we want our economy to stay alive.”
The PM said 2020 was also the last year for negotiating the CPL tournament in T&T.
“This year was the last year of the existing arrangement. But when we did negotiate this, we did it for a three-year period. What we have agreed to do in this negotiation, to have this tournament, is that the CPL will consider concluding negotiations with us for another three years,” he said.